This show, “Michigan and other Mayhem”, is a sort of factual, slightly comical, always earnest podcast about interesting stuff in Michigan and around the world. It is done by two sisters-in-law (Ali and Jenn) that like to talk about random interesting stories. Expect cults, mysteries, murder, fast talking, and a couple of mental palate cleansers… and cuss words. Those happen on this show, a lot.
Episode 51: Haunted MI Home on Travel Channel, Rogue Village Cop, Man Kills Mom Over Puppy
**WARNING!** LOUD PODCAST. WE WERE TO BUSY TURNING IT UP. WE TURNED UP THE AUDIO TO LOUD.
Reviews of The Cottage in Traverse City, MI
- Pretend podcast music because Jenn likes it.
- Ali has a weird laugh. It is often loud.
Haunted MI Home on Travel Channel
The Detroit News did an article on a haunted home in Michigan that is being featured on the Travel Channel. The show is called “Ghost Brothers: Haunted Houseguests”. They came to Michigan to feature the Wedding Cake House or, more formerly, the Richard C. Burtis House.
It is an intrically detailed house with layers, which is why they call it the Wedding Cake House. It was built in 1880 by Richard Burtis, who was a successful shoemaker. The current homeowner claimed she was injured when a mirror fell off the wall. The current owner believes there are good and bad spirits in the home. The owners believe that there are three separate spirits in the home. The Ghost Brothers and other paranormal investigators have come to check out the home.
Jenn believes the homeowners are trying to drive revenue to their GoFundMe page.
Oakley Village, Michigan
Oakley Village, Michigan was established in 1887. Oakley had a population of 290 people in the 2010 census, which equaled out to about 135 housing units. Looking at the back of your left hand as a map of Michigan, Oakley is about an inch southwest of the thumb crease. Around 2008/2009 Oakley hired Robert Reznick to helm their police department for $500 month. Hiring Robert was the catalyst that created a controversy that includes criminal charges from the federal government.
Robert Reznick attended the Flint Police Academy in early 1976. As academy graduation neared, officials realized that he had lied about his age and was 17 years old, not a legal adult at 18, like he claimed on the application. A Genesee County sheriff had signed his application to the academy, saying that Robert was a part-time employee of his post. The full truth was Robert Reznick was a confidential informant (a narc) in his high school. The sheriff’s memo said Robert was an informant due to the school’s drug issues. December of 1976 saw a letter being sent from the State of Michigan to the Genesee County sheriff, saying Robert’s academy training was null and void, due to him not meeting “the State of Michigan Minimum Employment Standards”.
Although Robert’s police academy certificate was voided from his 1976 training, he was allowed to go through the graduation ceremony so that his family didn’t lose face in the community. At the graduation Reznick was given a copy of his certificate to carry and he kept it.
In 1977, Robert Reznick graduated from Grand Blanc High School and turned 18 years old. Robert again began to work for the same sheriff’s office, as a marine officer with limited policing powers. The State again denied Robert’s request to certify him as a police officer. This did not stop Robert from working in police departments in Flushing city, Genesee, Shiawassee, Huron, and Lapeer counties. At the time, police were required to complete basic training, but they didn’t have a way of tracking officers as they moved from different police posts.
It was in 1988, while Robert worked for Flushing, that someone did question his credentials. Attention came to the matter of Robert’s missing credentials due to a tip to the state agency that oversees police officers. (Someone narc-ed on the narc.) When Robert was confronted over his lack of credentials, he told a State Police lieutenant that academy officials had told him to falsify the date of his birth on his application and that once he turned 18, he would be automatically certified. The academy officials denied his claim and point out that they had previously voided his certificate.
Robert Weiss, who was the Genesee County Prosecutor during this time, recorded that Robert Reznick was able to get into the police academy due to his father’s influence. Robert Reznick’s dad was a physician and was able to sway law enforcement to let his son go through the training.
When Reznick’s fraud was found out, Robert Weiss did not prosecute Robert Reznick. Weiss said it wasn’t feasible to prosecute him due to the amount of time that had passed. Robert Weiss did recommend that Robert Reznick never be certified as a police officer. Robert Weiss concluded that Robert Reznick didn’t have any credibility with the prosecution office and that they would not be willing to call him to the stand as a witness.
The next year, in 1989, Robert Reznick enrolled in the police academy at Delta College. After graduation, and after he had worked as a police officer for over 10 years, Robert became a certified police officer. Robert continued working for the city of Flushing, as well as Perry, Holly, Coleman, Clarkston and Gaines Village.
Robert worked in Gaines Village until 2001 and lists his reason for leaving as “change of governing board”. There was a civil case from Gaines Village against Robert Reznick that shows he was “fired for failure to perform duties” as well as using his official vehicle for personal use. According to the man who was the village president at the time, Robert was a bully who struggled to get along with others and stepped beyond the bounds of his authority.
During the next few years, Robert Reznick was accused of demanding entry into private homes of people who were considered debtors, owing money for unpaid loans and credit card debt. Robert would sometimes arrive at night and refuse to leave the home until the debt was paid. He encouraged the homeowners to call family and friends to get the money. Robert was also known for being aggressive and threatening people with arrest.
Then Reznick landed in the rural Village of Oakley in the late 2000’s, and it was in Oakley that Reznick made his biggest move. For a town of about 300 people, Robert Reznick created a police reserve force of between 100 and 150 officers. The civilians that volunteered for the police force typically paid about $1,300 each for the privilege. The list of people who had been registered as part of the reserve police force in Oakley was kept secret from the residents.
In 2014, Robert Reznick was building a similar police force in Waterloo Township, where he worked as the police chief, simultaneously with his Oakley job. Again, in Waterloo Township, Robert secured donations from those wanted to be reserve police officers. However, the residents of Waterloo were concerned enough to vote down a millage that would have kept their police office open. The police post closed and Robert lost his job at Waterloo.
Concurrently, in Oakley, the Michigan Municipal League cancelled the village’s insurance over liability issues with the reserve officers. This caused the council to shut down the Oakley police department until they would obtain insurance and work on the issue with the reserves. Robert used the money from the reserve officer’s donations to secure insurance and reopened the police post himself. A trustee to the village at the time, Francis “Fuzz” Koski, filed a lawsuit due to Reznick opening the police station against the village council’s wishes.
The residents were already at odds with each other, for and against Reznick. Oakley became a village divided with neighbors disagreeing with neighbors and family members arguing from opposite sides. One village member described it as people turning on each other, like a line being drawn cross the village and everyone stood on one side or the other. (It reminded me of the 2016 U.S. presidential election.) Village board meetings often became heated. Restaurants in the village went quiet as no one wanted to start a fight with the diners next to them.
The residents that saw Robert Reznick in a positive light pointed out during the holidays Robert and some of his reserve officers gave out free ham and turkeys to the residents of Oakley. They appreciated the police presence. Reznick had told them that the officers had undergone background checks, had been offered training, and had concealed pistol licenses before they applied to the force. The reserve officers gave $200,000 which Reznick said went straight to the village. The village offices were redone, and some sewer costs were offset for residents. New tires were also put on the village backhoe, which was used to plow snow from the public roads.
Those that were against Reznick claimed the officers, during two separate occasions on Halloween and during a bike run, of displaying an excessive show of force. A village of 300 people, with a low crime rate, does not need a high quantity of reserve police officers. They believed that Robert wanted control of the village. It was one of the reasons for the lawsuit after Robert reopened the closed police office. When Robert Reznick was accused by a bar owner of harassing one of his bartenders, Reznick began hassling patrons of the establishment. Reznick and his officers were pulling over people as they entered and exited the parking lot of the establishment. He was accused of using his position to bully others in Oakley, as he had previously been charged with in Gaines village.
Most of the reserve officers did not live in Oakley and had never even been there. Why would someone who doesn’t live in Oakley want to be a reserve officer with the village? One reason is because the officer designation. Those that have the designation of a reserve police officer can have enhanced concealed weapons permits. These permits allowed them to carry weapons in places where it is otherwise prohibited like schools, bars, and sports stadiums. The second reason is they also received access to guns and ammunitions that Reznick was selling cheaply.
Who were the people on the secret list of reserve officers? The secret list was finally revealed due to a court order. The list included regular citizens along with a Detroit Free Press attorney, a former prosecutor, Detroit businessmen, a former Detroit Lions player, and Robert “Kid Rock” Ritchie. Kid Rock, among others, is one of the people that have never been to the village.
Robert Reznick has been investigated since 2015 and was criminally charged in 2019 with firearms fraud. When his home was raided in 2017, his contract with the village of Oakley was not renewed. The federal government believes that Robert was using Oakley as a front for his illegal firearms business. Robert had used his status as a police chief to buy guns and ammunitions at reduced prices, with the reasoning that they would be used for police work. Robert would then sell the munitions at a reduced cost to his reserve officers. It was believed that Reznick made a “significant profit” selling normally expensive assault weapons that were adorned with an Oakley Police Department badge.
Robert is also being charged with evading federal and state taxes on sales transactions of the guns when bringing them across state lines. He failed to file taxes for several years on both his personal income and his collections business. When investigations began in 2015, Reznick did file all of his late returns, but is being accused of underreporting his income.
Robert Reznick’s lawyer, Mark Kriger, claims that he had a judgment lapse and Robert feels regret over his actions. Federal prosecutors are asking for an 18-month sentence, while Mr. Kriger is asking for probation. Robert Reznick, now age 60, pled guilty. His felony charges bar him from being a cop in the future.
The Michigan public should note that there are no state standards for conduct, training, or oversite of reserve officers in this state. Michigan has about 3,000 unlicensed volunteer civilians on the police force.
Man Kills Mother Over Puppy
Andrew Wilson was 19 years old when he committed his crime, September 8, 2017. Lisa Wilson, 51, from Wheaton Field Township was found dead in her home by gunshot. Andrew reported that she was shot while he was out of the home. He then said he killed his mom after a fight about a puppy. He shot her in the back of the head while she was sleeping, after she told him he couldn’t keep a puppy that he had found at her home. Andrew used a .22 rifle.
Andrew’s lawyer claims that the high doses of chemo that he received as a child affected his judgment. At the time of the murder, Andrew had been in a depressive state and hearing voices. Mental testing found that Andrew was competent. He was charge with first degree murder, but he pled guilty to second degree murder. Andrew received 17 years.
Reviews of The Cottage in Traverse City, MI
If you like your food bland and cold, this is the spot for you. Probably a step up from the usual assisted living fare, but not a big step. We went to the Sunday buffet which was picked over with no sign they planned to replenish it. There were 2 scramble eggs – plain and with a few veggies and some cheddar on top, Luke warm sausage and bacon, cold pancakes stuck together, maple flavored syrup, mini eclairs that were icy inside, assorted fruits and a gooey chocolate sauce. Scones were dry and floury tasting. There were two items on the end we couldn’t figure out – a grey mushy looking mess and fried something- no one was brave enough to try it. All overpriced at $11 per person.
Service was poor – we had to search for our server to pay and she never came by to offer more coffee.
A one star rating is one star too Many.
Green24, Illinois, 6/22/19
Went here for breakfast. I had heard about the black cherry pancakes and they did not disappoint. I had the buffet. Pancakes are light and I covered them with the black cherry sauce. I also ate the eggs (yum) and had fruit. The other two people also had the black cherry pancakes either as their meal or part of their meal. Everyone loved them. The person who had them as a side also had the breakfast casserole with egged which he really liked. Efficient service even though the only had limited servers working. Would definitely go back.
Note: The second review has a total of 10 sentences with five of them referring to the pancakes in some way. Those black cherry pancakes can change a person on the inside.
Rate and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Anchor, and YouTube.
Do you want to contact Michigan and other Mayhem? Do you have a story you want to share? Contact us by clicking here
Warning: This podcast occasionally contains strong language which may be unsuitable for children.